The month of February is all about hearts and flowers and romance! In the spirit of the month of St. Valentine all of my blog entries will be about relationships.
Not only romantic relationships! I will also talk about friendship and family relationships.
How to reduce stress
Ask any of us stress-relief gurus about how to reduce stress, and the word community is bound to come up.
Having a supportive community around is us one of the most important things we can do for both our emotional and physical health. Yet, for some of us, finding that community can be really difficult.
I am going to save the dynamics of relationships for the next blog installment How to Build Your Emotional Support Tribe. For this installment, I am going to focus on why building community is so important for your emotional health AND talk about the different people and places you can go to find the members of your support tribe.
In an earlier blog installment, Supportive Friends, I talked about why having friends is so important for our health. The following research findings help us to understand this:
- Loneliness is one of the leading causes of depression. Having people to reach out to when in need is one of the most important interventions for depression. Source
- Having a social support system is one of the most important factors in reducing both symptoms and mortality in myriad diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, and emphysema. Source
- Having positive interactions with other human beings raises the levels of our happy hormones and thus promotes both emotional and physical wellbeing. Source
- According to Emiliana Simon-Thomas of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, “Human beings are an ultra-social species and our nervous systems expect to have others around us.” Source
- Even healthy, happy people need to be around other people! Recent neuroscience research suggests that the human brain and neuro-system work better when we are around and interacting with other humans. Source
The many places we can find social support
As a home-based entrepreneur, I can tell you that life can get pretty isolated and lonely without the camaraderie of an employee-filled workplace! Believe me, as a Work At Home Mom (WAHM) and the friend of many Stay At Home Moms (SAHMs), interacting with children as your primary humans is not enough! 😉
Our families can definitely be support systems for us. Our friends, especially a treasured “best friend” are also important social support systems.
It’s important to remember that we should not put all of our support eggs in one basket.
Our families and treasured “best friends” are not around 100% of the time. I have seen this happen many times both in my own life and through my clients’ stories. I will speak more to this subject in the next blog.
For now, let’s talk about how to spread the wealth of our social support system! Here are some examples of how to branch out:
- A coach or therapist are trained professionals who will guide you and support you when you have emotional needs.
- A spiritual leader is a wonderful person to turn to when we need emotional support.
- A spiritual group of like-minded people is also a good place to find comfort and camaraderie. Churches, temples, or spiritual centers, in general, can provide some of this support. I recommend joining a smaller group within the larger spiritual center. Bible studies, meditation groups, moms groups, and helping hands groups all provide a smaller environment in which to make closer friends.
- An interest group of friends provides a social network and is usually centered around something that all of the people like to do. Examples of interest groups are book groups, movie & dinner groups, hiking groups, etc. etc. These are good for both extroverts and people who are more introverted to find friends because there is always something going on at the same time as the social interaction.
- A casual sports team is another good way to gain a wider-spread social group. Just like the interest group, it is a good place for people who are a little more introverted to find friends because they have a common interest with the people, which gives them a topic of conversation. Just make sure to go out for pizza after you play! And even if you are not athletic you can often still find something fun and easy to do. I have friends that play recreational kickball! And yes, they are adults!
- And finally, your workspace is often a good place to make friends. Use caution when associating with workplace friends though. Make sure that the conversation does not turn into complaint sessions about the workplace or gossip sessions about coworkers. That type of conversation can have very negative consequences and end-up causing you more stress in the long run.
- And what about us WAHMs and SAHMs? Co-working in a center for entrepreneurs is a great way to get out of your home alone work syndrome! And of course, networking groups and all of the above-mentioned spiritual and social opportunities. SAHMs & SAHDs there are lots of playgroups around if you have little ones at home! Find one that is a good fit for you and make it a habit to go. It is good for you and for your kiddos to socialize.
You may be thinking to yourself, “those are all great suggestions Jen, but where do I find social groups and teams to join?” That actually is getting easier and easier these days!
Try Meetup or your local YMCA or Parks & Recreation Center. Local public libraries host book groups for adults and story hour for kiddos. Also, check into local group play areas for mommy/daddy & me groups!
Get out & Enjoy! Spread the beauty of who you are with others and let them share their friendship and support with you!
Please share your ideas on how to grow your social support network! Peaceful Living Wellness is a community ~ I love to hear your ideas, wisdom, and insights!
Don’t forget, if you would like to have a coach as part of your support system, just reach out and we can schedule a consultation!
Love & Light,
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